chapter  6
17 Pages

“Mut zu Deutschland!”

On the Populist Nationalism of the Alternative für Deutschland
ByJoseph Sterphone

By March of 2016, Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), a barely three-year-old right-wing populist party, had won the second- or third-largest vote shares in three state elections, and was positioned to compete for the third-largest vote share in the 2017 federal election. Taking a discourse analytic approach, this chapter traces the AfD’s rise in popularity through its nationalist and populist appeals and shift away from its stance as a primarily protest party. In doing so, it contextualizes its alterations in appeals and policies, ultimately arguing that the AfD’s present success came out of the federal government’s response to the refugee crisis. More specifically, it argues that the AfD’s success is rooted in an emphasis on anti-foreigner – specifically anti-refugee and anti-Muslim – discourses that are borrowed from similar discourses found in mainstream parties, but taken farther to the right. As a result, the AfD case indicates that nationalism rooted in xenophobia (Islamophobia) is the driving force of support for the AfD’s populism, and speaks to the broader discussion about the inseparable link between nationalism and populism.